Redbone Coonhound

"Versatile Hunter"

Photo of Redbone Coonhound


Red foxhounds brought to America from Scotland in the 1700s may have formed the root stock of the Redbone Coonhound. George Birdsong, a Georgia hunter, is credited with forming the breed, beginning with a pack he obtained in 1840. Other hunters refined the dogs to create a faster, hotter-nosed breed, crossing them with Irish Red Foxhounds. These early dogs were sometimes called Saddlebacks because they tended to have black saddles. The saddles were bred out and the breed became known as Redbone Coonhounds, probably not so much for the color as for a Tennessee promoter of the breed, Peter Redbone. Today's Redbone is a versatile hunter that specializes in treeing raccoon, but also excels in trailing and treeing bear, cougar, and bobcat. In 1902, the Redbone became the second coonhound recognized by the United Kennel Club. It was another century before the AKC recognized the breed, however. It remains a favorite with serious raccoon hunters who want a fast working dog with excellent treeing ability. As it moves into the ranks of AKC dogs, more people are discovering this dog's ability as a family companion as well.


The Redbone is a laid back hound generally content to lounge around the house and yard, as long as he gets out to run and explore every day. He's active when hunting, which is still his first love, and care must be taken that he doesn't follow his nose and head off on a scent. Obedience isn't his strong point, especially when a trail calls. He's an affectionate, gentle dog, but not clingy, and he gets along with strangers, children, and other dogs. He can be good with cats as long as he's raised with them. He's not a yapper, but when he barks, it's that deep, melodious bark that hunters love to hear at night.


He's built to run at speed over swamplands, rocky hill country, and thick woods, so he's streamlined but strong. He's slightly taller at the withers than hips, with a slightly arched loin. His face has a pleading expression, with round eyes and fine, moderately low-set ears. His coat is short and sleek, with solid red preferred.


As a dog bred to think for himself on the hunt, he simply hasn't been bred to check back with people to see what they think. As a result, he's often pretty sure that he's right and you're crazy, and he can be stubborn if he's really convinced you're wrong. But if you convince him it pays off to humor you, he'll do his best to earn treats and approval. It's a good idea to introduce him to the basics of training early, while he still thinks you know what you're doing.

Grooming & Care

The Redbone's coat is wash and wear, and requires only weekly brushing. Keep nails trimmed short and ears clean and dry. Keep teeth clean, too. He needs moderate exercise every day, preferably a long walk or moderate jog, or some time off leash in a secure area. He does need the chance to sniff around and use his nose, but care must be taken that he doesn't head off on a scent trail. He enjoys swimming.

Health Concerns

The Redbone Coonhound has no major health concerns peculiar to the breed, but regular veterinary visits can help catch any problems that could develop. Breeding stock should have hips screened -- ask your breeder to see the results of this test.

Famous Redbone Coonhound

Ol' Dan and L'il Ann, the famous hounds from that old childhood favorite, "Where the Red Fern Grows," by Wilson Rawls.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 4
Schedule 5
Home 9
Children 10
Experience 53
Quick Facts
Grooming 13
Exercise 60
Challenges Needs a job
Height 21 to 27 inches
Weight 45 to 70 pounds
Life 15 to 16 years
Home Alone 83
With Kids 21
With Strangers 91
Availability 95

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

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